Car Culture

Truck buyers not as brand loyal as you'd think, study says

The decline in the number of country songs about specific pickup brands is finally explained.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The North American pickup truck buyer is a strange species of consumer, very unlike any other in any other locale. Their somewhat Freudian motivations for choosing one pickup over another are well documented, but one area that hasn't been fully investigated until now is their concept of brand loyalty.

CarGurus decided that brand loyalty was a study worth undertaking, so it surveyed 450 American pickup owners (not necessarily owners of American pickups, mind you) to see how deep their loyalties actually ran and the answers are a little surprising.

Typically, when talking about the pickup segment of the market, the conversation revolves around offerings from the Detroit Three: Ford, GM and Dodge. So-called foreign manufacturers (though the bulk of trucks and SUVs from Japanese manufacturers are built in the US of A) are thought of as also-rans, but it turns out that the owners of these also-rans are the most die-hard of all.

CarGurus wanted to find out what it would take to make someone switch brands of truck and the results were pretty interesting. 42 percent of owners said that a price bump of $5,000 would make them switch brands, with 45 percent of them currently owning Fords. The second largest slice of the pie at 29 percent said they wouldn't switch for any reason and the largest chunks of those owners, 38 and 25 percent, own Toyotas and Nissans, respectively.

Another interesting statistic is the percentage of pickup owners who have never, ever cheated on their brand. 42 percent of Dodge/Ram owners did the equivalent of waiting till marriage and have never owned another brand of truck, while those who own GMCs are much more the "experimented in college" type, with only 14 percent staying fully brand loyal.

Lastly, CarGurus wanted to know what specific attribute would drive a purchaser to another brand. When polled, 52 percent said price would make them jump ship but, our friend Freud rears his cocaine-addled head with reason numero dos: engine size and power.

Trucks are definitely trending right now with buyers because let's face it, gas is cheap and trucks are cool. This year's Detroit Auto Show was packed to the brim with new trucks and SUVs, most brimming with the latest and greatest technology. It will be interesting to see how more civilization and more tech change truck buyer's priorities in the future.